Night Of The Demons draws to a close with a puzzling entry, a movie whose sole likeable or relatable character is one of the all-time great cliches – a cop with a couple of hours to go before retirement. Everyone else is utterly repellent and you’re delighted when Angela gets going and starts killing them all off; not delighted enough to make it an enjoyable experience, but you take what you can get.
Much like part 2, this has a cold open where someone unrelated to the main plot is murdered by Angela, just in case there was any doubt about whether she was alive or not. At least they don’t pretend the “death” from the previous instalment is anything more than a mild inconvenience.
The fodder for this cannon is a group of people off to a Halloween party. Now, I presume you’ve been to a few parties in your time, dear reader, and have even shared a van with a group of merry-makers – but if you’re so hostile to your “friends” that you choke one, and then inspire one of the others to hold a knife to your throat, I’d think about getting a different group of friends. It’s been a couple of days and I’m struggling to remember any of them – there’s Hostile Curtainhead; Dopey Curtainhead (referring to their ultra-90s haircuts); Woman; Black Guy; and Jason Patric lookalike. Seriously, that’s about as much characterisation as any of them deserve, and their banter in these scenes is absolutely pitiful – blame part 1’s director Kevin Tenney, returning here as writer / editor / “creative consultant”.
After picking up a couple of girls whose car broke down, things go to hell really quickly when they’re in a 7-11 and Hostile Curtainhead annoys the shopkeeper so much he pulls a gun on him – HC then grabs the shotgun and starts blasting fools, including a cop who just happened to be at the scene. Caught in the crossfire is Black Guy, who I can’t keep calling that so I’ll find out his character name…Reggie. Reggie is shot, so the gang run from the scene and rather than helping out their friend, accepting punishment or anything sensible, find a place to hole up and wait for things to cool down. Guess which remote building, looking entirely unlike it did in parts 1 and 2, they choose?
There are a number of curious choices, and because I’ve had too many long paragraphs so far, time for a couple of bullet points:
- The cop in the 7-11 is wearing a flak jacket, so he doesn’t die, so there’s a chance of redemption for the main characters that’s nothing more than a red herring. Why on earth would a cop going to buy snacks be wearing a flak jacket?
- We see the same bit of footage from parts 1 and 2, an Evil Dead style shot of an unseen thing emerging from the crematorium furnace and moving into the building. But we’ve already seen Angela, and know she’s got her full complement of supernatural powers. What does this scene achieve?
The stuff in the house is just the same old, same old. The “kids” get gradually turned into demons, to hassle the two remaining people (Jason Patric lookalike and one of the women they picked up), and the cop – who’s surprisingly smart – closes in on them. You know how it goes, if you’ve ever seen a horror movie before, and nothing remotely interesting or unusual happens. Which is an extra shame because Kevin Tenney showed real promise for a while there, but after this it was stuff like “Endangered Species” and not much else – director Jimmy Kaufman is a TV guy through and through, and it shows.
Actually, the one interesting thing is the return of Amelia Kinkade, now better known as a choreographer and pet psychic (presumably not at the same time). She appears to have largely quit acting in 1990, only returning to play this role in the two sequels, so she must have liked the part I guess? Who knows.
The thing that annoys me about this trilogy is there’s no reason for any of it. Nothing drives the plot – no reason for the demon’s presence, no reason for Angela being the face it chooses to maintain, no point to trying to defeat it, nothing. It’s a hollow experience, and part 3 doesn’t even bother explaining who Angela is or why she’s there, as if we should all be on board or have done our homework beforehand.
Among the more pointless of the horror franchises, it was still remade in the great remaking frenzy of 2006-2010 (but more on that in a few days), because nature abhors a vacuum and Hollywood abhors an original idea. If you’re really really desperate for another series, I guess give it a go? There’s much worse out there.
Rating: thumbs down